March 19th, 2012
08:23 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney can't escape birth control questions in Illinois

Peoria, Illinois (CNN) - Mitt Romney tried to make his final day before Tuesday’s Illinois primary all about the economy, but in the end he couldn’t escape the distracting questions about birth control that have seeped into the Republican presidential discussion for weeks on end.

Romney faced two questions about contraception as he wrapped up his last event Monday, a sun-splashed outdoor town hall on the campus of Bradley University in Peoria.

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After Romney riffed for about 20 minutes on President Barack Obama’s management of the economy, he solicited questions from the large student-heavy audience.

As the first questioner made apparent, these voters were not pre-screened.

“So you’re all for like, yay, freedom, and all this stuff,” said the first woman to approach a microphone. “And yay, like pursuit of happiness. You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.”

Her remark drew a mix of applause and boos from the crowd, and a rebuke from the Republican frontrunner.

“You know, let me tell you, no no, look, look let me tell you something,” he said, waiting for the crowd noise died down. “If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for? Vote for the other guy, that’s what he’s all about, okay? That’s not, that’s not what I’m about.”

That exchange was followed by another question about Romney’s plan to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

A female audience member asked Romney where he might suggest “millions of women go” without Planned Parenthood offering reproductive and sexual health care.

“Well they can go wherever they’d like to go,” Romney told her. “This is a free society. But here’s what I’d say, which is the federal government should not tax these people to pay for Planned Parenthood … The idea of the federal government funding Planned Parenthood I’m going to say no, we’re going to stop that.”

Also see:

Santorum hits back at 'economic lightweight' charge

Republicans ramp up efforts to slam Obama health law

Poll: Romney lead widens in Illinois

Filed under: 2012 • Illinois • Mitt Romney
soundoff (218 Responses)
  1. bilk7

    Romney says "we're going to stop that"? Well, it looks like the American voters will have their say and put a stop to any idea of Mitt Romney ever becoming President!

    March 19, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  2. Blindersoff

    Romney, my way or the high way . . . "Go vote for the other guy" Romney, not leadership material. America, wisdom is screaming at the top of it's lungs, Vote for the other guy. Period.

    March 19, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  3. jake

    romney is a fool of fools. Obama in november. any other course is only going to destroy this country. Remember the crap we went through with the village idiot bush. REMEMBER? hey do you REMEMBER? the crap we had to go through with bush...never again...never again!

    March 19, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  4. Smako

    He was not elected Lord God Emperor of Massachusetts, simply the Governor. What he wants and what the people that elected him want were two different things. Unlike Bill "where's my cigar" Clinton who was elected by the MTV generation that wanted legalized narcotics, Mitt chose to obey the voters.
    So he's a Mormon, big deal, Nixon was a Quaker with 2 more pucker points than the Mormons and he got us out of Viet Nam and made friends with the Chinese. Thank you Jimmy Carter for ruining that deal.

    March 19, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  5. Common Sense

    What a terrible headline on the home page. "Romney Grilled on Birth Control" hardly, he was given some fairly uneducated questions and answered them easily.

    March 19, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  6. Texas Annie

    Seriously, with all the real problems facing this country (unemployment, national debt, national & international security, people losing homes, healthcare, etc etc) and THIS is the issue people want to grill Rommey (or ANY candidate) about. Get real people– birth control is NOT what we should be asking our presidential candidates about.

    March 19, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  7. mel

    From 1930 to 1970 the White poppulation increased from 102 million to 170 million while the Minority population only increased from 20 million to 30 million ,but from 1970 to 2010 the White population increased from 170 million to 195 million,but the Minority population blewup from 30 million to 114 million

    From 1930 to 1970 White women had about 62 million babies,but from 1970 to 2010 White women only had 18 million babies,this is why the GOP is going nuts on birth control,because White women is not having babies period.

    March 19, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  8. gordyb

    Typical Right Wing Response to reality. They will do nothing to prevent unwanted pregnancies but also won't give a dam after the children are born! Just on cost/benefit, preventing unwanted pregnancies is cheaper than caring for them. Another losing position for Mitt.

    March 19, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  9. Nathan's a perfect opportunity for Romney to court the moderate/liberal left, and he sticks to his guns. Not what I expected.

    March 19, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  10. JDQ

    But we should be taxed to pay for Viagra via Medicare, right?

    March 19, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  11. Phil T. Listener

    “Well they can go wherever they’d like to go,” Romney told her. “This is a free society."

    The part he left out is "Unfortunately the services are not free. So if you can't afford them, like me, then guess what? You are out of luck. And I don't care! The other guy does. If you want someone who cares, vote for him."

    March 19, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  12. 71556

    After much consideration, I've come to the conclusion that Romney is insane.

    March 19, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  13. Larry L

    The one thing I've not heard any of the Republicans mention is rthe impact of birth control NOT being available to poor people. Do they really want more people to be born from mothers who can't afford another child? Are they willing to pay for the welfare checks, the Medicaid, the food stamps, the free breakfasts and lunches at school, and sadly, the prisons that result from an uinbroken cycle of poverty caused by too many children? Do you really want unlimited reproduction?

    March 19, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  14. William

    With world hunger, wars, crime, economic collapse, disease, ethnic cleansing going on, and these idiots are asking about birth control. Such people should practice birth control and not be allowed to breed if this is the only concern that they can talk about.

    March 19, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  15. yankeesfan

    I don't understand someone who can be pro-life but is against birth control. That's too pro-life to an extreme. Free birth control means fewer abortions. Shouldn't that be the deciding factor for someone who is pro-life?

    March 19, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  16. lgny

    "Women don't need cheap contraceptives because the poor can always go to Planned Parenthood."

    "We want to close Planned Parenthood."

    What a wonderful service delivery system these Republicans propose!

    March 19, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  17. LJ

    A woman voting republican is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders!!!!

    March 19, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  18. Attila, The Hun

    RoMoney believes in tax cuts for the rich because they create jobs which no economist has been able to prove.

    In RoMoney's world the deck is stacked against the middle class. He's about making it on your own while he had no problems with the government backing many of his hostile take overx through preferential treatment on loans to fund the take overs.

    Vote for RoMoney so he'll keep more of his money and you will pay more of yours to the government.

    March 19, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  19. Katie B from NC

    “Well they can go wherever they’d like to go,” Romney told her. That's fine for the women who can afford to go elsewhere. If you're poor, you're out of luck.

    March 19, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  20. joshua

    Meanwhile, people are still out of work, gas prices have doubled, the national debt has increased by 5 trillion dollars and the president had two full years to pass anything he wanted without needing a single republican vote. But to mindless whacky left, government controlled birth control is a higher priority.

    March 19, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  21. Einzart

    Its a joke. People always question candidates about abortion, gay marriage rights, religious views. I mean seriously. What do you expect candidates to say? Their answers are bound to make some ppl happy and some very unhappy. The problem with laws are that they are binary by nature. People and their needs fortunately are not binary but fuzzy. Binary logic is faulty. I find these questions amusing. Because it appears to me that people are more interested in hearing what they want to hear rather than providing solutions on how to tackle different issues. And thats what they get really. The guy who wants to get elected tells them exactly what they want to hear.

    March 19, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    Mittens, Sanitorium and all these other yahoos are trying to impose their religious beliefs on me with their attempts to criminalize contraception.

    You see, I believe that God gave me a brain to actually USE and be responsible for taking care of my own body – which included using birth control until I was ready to have children, which my spouse and I have done. We are the proud and blessed parents of three healthy, wonderful kids.

    The GOP and all these religious freaks can take their 18th-century view of the world and shove it up where the sun doesn't shine!

    March 19, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    "If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for?"

    Hey, Mittens, you mean like the federal subsidies you took when managing the Utah Olympics? Or the oil industry subsidies? Or how about the big, fat tax-exemption your LDS church enjoys, even though you all enjoy the infrastructure that MY tax dollars provide?

    March 19, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  24. Mike Bronx

    Well, that's GOPers for ya, enjoy !!

    March 19, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  25. billy davis

    The GOP " We will continue to give Big Oil $4B per year"

    March 19, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
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